Early Headlines: Open Dissent in China, Dow Crashes as in Financial Crisis, Ashley Madison Extortion, 2015 Warmest on Record, Koreas to Talk and More
Early Bird Headlines 22 August 2015
Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
- Remember: “Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” (Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser) MC has contributed to GEI.
So said Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Pay no heed to the massive wildfires. And temperature readings.
- 2015 May Just Be Hottest Year on Record (Scientific American) According to the global temperature data compiled separately by NASA, NOAA, and the Japan Meteorological Agency, this July was the warmest July on record going back more than a century. It follows three other warmest months this year, with the remaining months ranking among the top four hottest, meaning that 2015 is the warmest year-to-date.
- Extortionists Target Ashley Madison Users (Krebs on Security) According to security firms and to a review of several emails shared with this author, extortionists already see easy pickings in the leaked Ashley Madison user database. One unique feature of these extortion schemes is the demand by some to be paid in bitcoin. So far there is nothing that connects the hackers who disclosed the records to the several extortionists - See next article.
- What if the Ashley Madison hack was an inside job? (The Conversation) The motivation for the data release appears to be ideological rather than financial, according to this article:
A massive cache of highly personal information collected by dating site Ashley Madison has been publicly posted on the internet by a group calling itself “Impact Team”. Ashley Madison is specifically aimed at married people seeking extra-marital affairs, advertising itself with the tagline: “Life is short – have an affair”.
Impact Team had earlier threatened to release the information if the site’s operators, Canadian company Avid Life Media, continued to operate both Ashley Madison and companion site Established Men. Other dating sites operated by the company, such as Cougar Life, were not targeted.
- The Ashley Madison Data Dump, Explained (The New York Times) Hat tip to Ben Peterson, Newsana. The release of stolen data from Ashley Madison, a dating website marketed at would-be adulterers, promises to roil the marital lives of its members. It has also underscored the troubling limitations of Internet privacy.
- Dow Plunges 531 Points in Global Selloff (The Wall Street Journal) The Dow's drop of more than 1,000-point this week was the largest weekly decline since the week ended Oct. 10, 2008 in the midst of the Great Financial Crisis crash..
- Une attaque terroriste dans un train Thalys (Paris Match) In French. Two U.S. soldiers (in civilian clothing) aided passengers in subduing a gunman on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris. At least three passengers were injured, including two with serious wounds, one from bullets, the other from the knife. It is not yet clear if the two U.S. soldiers were among the wounded. The shooter, who reportedly was of North African origin, was taken into custody when the train stopped at the town of Arras in northern France.
- Xi Jinping's reforms encounter 'unimaginably fierce resistance', Chinese state media says in 'furious' commentary (South China Morning Post) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Hard times in Comradeland?
President Xi Jinping's wide-ranging reform push, covering everything from politics to the military, has come up against "unimaginably" fierce resistance, according to a tersely worded commentary carried by state media on Thursday.
In unusually strong language, the article said the reforms were at a critical stage and had encountered immense difficulties, affecting the interests of various groups.
"The in-depth reform touches the basic issue of reconfiguring the lifeblood of this enormous economy and is aimed at making it healthier," the article said. "The scale of the resistance is beyond what could have been imagined."
The commentary was attributed to "Guoping", an apparent pen name used by state media to comment on major state and Communist Party issues. It appeared in state media including the websites of CCTV and Guangming Daily.
Observers said the commentary suggested the reforms had not achieved the desired results and were opposed by various factions.
- China’s deadly Tianjin explosions show the limits of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive (Quartz) The serious safety and environmental violations in Tianjin are another example of how a few benefit and the rest of the country pays. Reports point to strong political connections between Ruihai International Logistics, the company that owned the warehouse and specializes in storing highly toxic chemicals, and government officials, indicating corruption played a huge role in the company's growth and operations.
- Four new fires at China blast site, widespread safety hazards found (Reuters) Four new fires have broken out at the site where two huge blasts last week killed 116 people, Chinese state media reported Friday soon after officials said safety hazards were found at almost 70 percent of firms handling dangerous chemicals in Beijing. More than 100 chemical firms across seven provinces have been told to suspend operations or shut down due to safety violations in the recent days, announcements by regional governments show.
North and South Korea
- Koreas to hold talks amid tension (BBC News) North and South Korea are to hold top-level talks amid growing tension. Senior aides to the two countries' leaders will meet at the Panmunjom truce village on the border at 0900 GMT. North Korea had threatened "strong military action" if the South did not stop border loudspeaker broadcasts. Following an exchange of fire on Thursday, North Korea declared a "semi-state of war".
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